Dove soap bar, Author Felipe Micaroni Lalli (Dove.jpg email@example.com) (CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic)
Dove soap, a Unilever brand, has launched a campaign in Canada to highlight the extent to which social media harms the self-esteem of pre-teen girls [1A][2A].
The campaign derives from a survey which showed that 80% of young girls already by the age of 13 use photo editing filters or apps to improve their image before posting a “selfie” online [1B].
Instructions in Parenting
The soap company urges parents to “have the selfie talk” with their children, and explain how image manipulation creates unrealistic beauty standards [1C][2B].
How low have we sunk when a soap company must instruct us in parenting? And how likely is it that our children will do as we say, rather than as we, ourselves, do?
Increased Vulnerability to Abuse
The messages we send are getting through to our children loud and clear. Only appearance matters. You are not adequate as you are. It is necessary and appropriate to present a false image to others.
These message not only warp our children’s ideals of beauty and damage their self-esteem. They increase our children’s vulnerability to abuse.
Children crave acceptance and approval. When those are not forthcoming from their parents, children seek them elsewhere – a fact of which online predators are fully aware.
That longing by children is the basis for grooming (the approach sexual predators take to induce a child to engage in suggestive activity online or risk a face-to-face meeting).
Children with low self-esteem have little resistance to the flowery compliments and false professions of love these predators routinely employ.
It can hardly be a surprise when our children fall prey to such ploys, if we have set the scene for them.
“Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Rev. 22: 15 ESV).
[1A, 1B, and 1C] Marketing Drive, “Dove urges parents to have the ‘selfie talk’ about harmful effects of social media” by Robert Williams, 4/21/21, https://www.marketingdive.com/news/dove-urges-parents-to-have-the-selfie-talk-about-harmful-effects-of-socia/598762/.
[2A and 2B] Newswire, “It’s Time to Have the Selfie Talk – New Dove Self-Esteem Project Research Finds 80% of Canadian Girls Are Using Photo Editing Apps by the Age of 13”, 4/20/21, https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/it-s-time-to-have-the-selfie-talk-new-dove-self-esteem-project-research-finds-80-of-canadian-girls-are-using-photo-editing-apps-by-the-age-of-13-866468860.html.
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11 responses to “Selfie Shame”
I think advertising (and the entertainment world) have always sent the message that adhering to some “agreed” standard of beauty, and being sexually attractive are all that matter – if you are a woman. It’s very sad, and very destructive. It was the message that was out there when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, the internet has multiplied and intensified that a million times.
You are so right. Convincing us we are inadequate makes us more inclined to purchase cosmetics and accessories meant to “remedy” our supposed defects.
Truth. What an evil, destructive trap for females. Also, I believe it is one of the reasons some girls and women are against each other. Lord knows we need each other’s support in this world, but because of unrealistic expectations and pressure about appearance, often girls and women are competing and comparing with each other and some girls/ women hate each other. The more girls and women can rise above this and not cater to these unfair and unrealistic expectations, the better. Perhaps they can set a trend and others will follow. Why should women have all the pressure on them in this regard? Yes, character oh, good character is what is a beautiful. Due to people focusing on women and girl’s looks, their talents also often get ignored. Ugh.
Well said, Petrina.
Very well written. It’s a shame that our society embraces and promotes the outward beauty of a person especially in young girls and women. If they would only realize that God looks at the inner beauty of a person.
I so agree. It would be a different world.
Thank you for this post; Its concerns about predators that I often tell my daughters God made them just as they are, that beauty isn’t based upon the world or what their peers think
This culture is warping our children’s view of themselves. But God sees the heart.
There is the fine line though. We must tell boys and girls to groom. Awareness can help them make good lifestyle choices of diet and exercise. Interacting with artful clothing choices, but not demanding, can help a child accept body image. I guess it is our own values that we must first examine.